The Government of Sierra Leone through the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) is currently implementing two unconditional cash transfer programs: the Covid-19 Ep Fet Po/Social Safety Nets and the Covid-19 Emergency Cash Transfer.

The former is as a result of the second Additional Finance (AF2) from the Government of Sierra Leone, the World Bank and UNICEF. It provides income support to extremely poor households and vulnerable people including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) thereby ensuring family purchasing power to buy food, health care, education and general wellbeing of the family.

Before the Outbreak of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone and as part of the SSN AF2, NaCSA and its implementing partners put aside contingency funding to Protect the wellbeing of households that are expected to be especially vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. The ECT provided these targeted households with financial support to help them cope with the immediate negative impact on their wellbeing, smoothing consumption and supplementing lost or reduced income.

An approximate total of Sixty-Nine thousand (69,000) direct beneficiaries have been targeted, enrolled and paid through a transparent and inclusive process. This means through the first and second phase of ECT, a sum total of Ninety Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty Million Leones (90,321,000,000) have been injected into the local economy.

Succinctly, as the Commission commences the final payment of the first cohort of beneficiaries, Thirty-Nine Thousand beneficiaries have been targeted, enrolled and paid with an individual benefit size of Two Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand Leones (2,617,000) for households without PWDs and Three Million and Fifty-Three Thousand Leones (3,053,000) for Households with PWDs. There are Twelve Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Three (12,733) households head or other members having disability which accounts for 35.63%. and Twenty-Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine (22,999) Households with no registered disability which account for 64.37%. Thus, a total of Ninety-Nine Billion, Sixty Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Thousand (99,062,232,000) has been injected into the local economy through the Covid-19 Ep Fet Po/SSN Project.

During the final payment of beneficiaries of the first cohort, the Commissioner and her Deputy provided oversight monitoring to ensure an efficient, effective and inclusive payment. In admonishing beneficiaries at PWD Burn House Camp, the Commissioner of NaCSA Dr. Sao-Kpato Hannah Isatta Max-Kyne reiterated the transparency of the entire process calling on beneficiaries to check and cross check their benefit before leaving payment centers.

‘’ I bring you greetings from His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio and we thank him for his leadership in providing cash and other support to the Vulnerable. This project is funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, the World Bank and UNICEF and it targets extremely poor and vulnerable citizens. We are working closely with the Anti-Corruption Commission, Statistics Sierra Leone and Rokel Commercial Bank. These institutions have different role but work as a team to ensure that targeting, enrolment and payment process is carried out with fairness and inclusivity.’’

In the same mood, Jimmy Batilo Songa, Deputy Commissioner NaCSA reassured beneficiaries of a transparent payment process; noting that with support from donors and the Bio led Government, the Commission will continue to support PWDs and other Vulnerable groups.

In summary, One Hundred and Eighty-Nine Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Two Thousand Leones (189,383,232,000) has been disbursed into the direct pocket of citizens.